Culture

Traditional Christmas Latino Meals And The History Behind Them

Latinos have played an pivotal role in American cuisine since the very beginning. But the wealth and complexity of Latin food traditions goes far beyond Taco Tuesdays and happy hour margaritas. Each Latin American country boasts its own unique  flavors, and while several of the same dishes exist in different forms throughout North, South, and Central America, each culture’s recipes are distinctly its own. The real beauty about Latin cuisine in the US is that these distinct cultural identities all have their place in our country’s vast gastronomic canon, maintaining their original shape while also merging into a stunning mezcla of vibrant new culinary customs.

While family tradition is super important in the Latino kitchen—with recipes being passed down from generation to generation—many old school dishes are being adapted in lieu of modern culinary trends.

And this makes sense. From food to music to fashion, cultural exchange is how new innovations and creative ideas come to life. But it is especially common in the realm of cuisine—we need food to survive, after all, and we are always seeking new ways to make this basic necessity a bit more interesting and enjoyable. In places like the US, where countless cultures coexist and overlap, it’s inevitable that different culinary traditions would borrow from each other and coalesce to make something totally fresh and distinct.

So what are some of the most classic Latino food traditions? How have they morphed and changed over time? And how have they stayed the same?

Tamales

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Tamales are a quintessential dish in many Latin American countries, though they differ from place to place. Yet the tradition of preparing tamales communally and collaboratively stands the test of both time and geography, as it is so often a group effort guided by la abuela’s magical, age-old tamale skills. With ancient Mesoamerican origins, the tamale will always be the root of blossoming Latinx cuisine—there’s nothing like the smell of steam rising from the tamalera and filling la cocina with goodness. They are the ultimate comfort food, and they’ve maintained their integrity, as they are too classic to change in any major sense. And the best way to eat tamales? With a steamy cup of champurrado in hand.

Guacamole

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Guacamole is a beloved concoction all over the world, though it originated in South Central Mexico several thousand years ago. Over time, it evolved from a prized Aztec dish to a ubiquitous and highly coveted snack that—in the US, anyway—spikes in popularity during certain events, like the Superbowl. Because of its simplicity, guacamole serves as a canvas for culinary creativity, with several different incarnations since its original blend of avocados, herbs, and spices. With guacamole, there opportunities to experiment are truly endless.

Micheladas

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The michelada has also evolved into a canvas of sorts, inviting people to create elaborate versions of this classic Mexican drink. Similar to the popular Bloody Mary, micheladas can sometimes serve as a whole meal, with entire salads floating atop the base of spicy, salty beer. Often, different types of mariscos are added, from shrimp to crab legs to octopus to oysters. Sometimes the michelada is adorned with varias frutas, like watermelon, pineapple, or blackberries. And occasionally, micheladas llevan all of the above! Like guacamole, the possibilities son infinitos.

Ceviche

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Some version of ceviche is made all over Latin America, but it is widely believed to originate in Peru—it is certainly synonymous with Peruvian cuisine, and is considered a national Peruvian dish. Its defining feature is some type of raw fish that is cured by citrus juices, then spiced with various seasonings. In Costa Rica, the featured fish is typically tilapia or corvina, although mahi-mahi, shark and marlin are also commonly used. In Mexico and some parts of Central America, it is often served with tostadas. El Salvador and Nicaragua produce a version called ceviche de concha negra, which is dark in color and quite picante. And in the United States, its renditions are just as diverse, highlighting everything from shrimp to scallops to octopus.

Maiz (En Todas Sus Formas)

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We’ve already mentioned tamales and champurrado, but corn is such a widespread culinary staple throughout Latin America, that it had to be repeated. Not only does corn form tortillas and masa, which are the base for a wide variety of different snacks and dishes (tacos, tostadas, tamales, etc.), but corn also appears in ancient drinks like Peruvian chicha and atole from Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. It’s the highlight of that fantastic Mexican street snack, elote (btw, if you’ve never had elote helado, está buení simo and you need to find some ASAP). Latin American food would be a totally different beast without corn, so we’ve got to sing its praises!

#GoyaAlternatives Is Giving People A List Of Companies And Recipes To Help Boycott Goya

Culture

#GoyaAlternatives Is Giving People A List Of Companies And Recipes To Help Boycott Goya

Carlos Barrios / Getty Images for SOBEWFF®

Goya’s CEO Robert Unanue is facing backlash after calling President Donald Trump a good builder and leader. Latinos, the regular and most loyal customers listened and are using their wallet to send a message by boycotting Goya and buying their competitors.

Goya CEO Robert Unanue convinced Goya lovers to boycott the brand with one sentence.

Unanue, a Spanish-American, called President Trump a great builder and leader during an event. The reaction was swift and unified as Latinos took to social media to call for a boycott. However, as Latinos do, we didn’t just call for a boycott; we got our abuelas involved.

Some Trump supporters are calling for a “buy-cott” to support a company many claim to have never used.

Like, cool. We get it. You like to support your man no matter what. That’s cool and all but it is very telling that so many people on Twitter are saying that it is their first time buying Goya. Cute.

Latinos are calling for a boycott of Goya and offering up alternatives.

There are a lot of companies that offer us the delicious sabor we have tome to associate with Goya. Much like Goya, these companies are ready to be pantry staples offering up the Latino sabor we love. Some don’t even have to be Latino to have our staples.

You can even find recipes for things you’ve never tried to make before using #GoyaAlternatives.

Who knew that you could just make adobo? We all love adobo because you can add it to literally anything and it will be delicious. Now we can just make our own and have some on hand for anything we are making. It’s always nice to know that you made something you use all of the time.

People have their abuelas involved because we are an all-hands-on-deck kind of community.

Tbh, Goya could never match what our abuelas are able to do. They have so much experience feeding their picky grandchildren so they know all of the tricks to make anything delicious. They also know the best non-Goya products to use to make the boycott equally delicious.

Now, just make sure you aren’t wasting food.

There isn’t anything good about throwing out perfectly good food. Ana Navarro offered up some advice about what to do with your current Goya stash. Eat it and don’t buy more or donate it to food banks or those in need.

READ: Goya CEO Says Calls For Product Boycott Are A ‘Suppression Of Speech,’ Refuses To Apologize

Goya CEO Says Calls For Product Boycott Are A ‘Suppression Of Speech,’ Refuses To Apologize

Culture

Goya CEO Says Calls For Product Boycott Are A ‘Suppression Of Speech,’ Refuses To Apologize

goyafoods / Instagram

Robert Unanue, the CEO of beloved Latino brand Goya Foods, is receiving relentless backlash after praising President Trump. #BoycottGoya is trending after Unanue’s comments praising President Trump for being the leader we are blessed to have.

Goya Foods CEO Robert Unanue wants you to know that you’re “blessed’ to have President Donald Trump as our leader.

“We’re all truly blessed at the same time to have a leader like President Trump who is a builder,” Unanue, a Spanish-American, said at the event. “That’s what my grandfather did. He came to this country to grow and prosper. And so we have an incredible builder and we pray. We pray for our leadership, our president, and we pray for our country. That we will continue to prosper and to grow.”

People are way more than shook by the baffling comments and his refusal to apologize.

Goya Foods is one of the most beloved brands by Latino households. President Trump has put migrant children from Latin America in caged in detention centers. President Trump started his campaign in 2015 calling Mexican immigrants rapists and murderers.

“So, you’re allowed to talk good or to praise one president, but you’re not allowed to aid in economic and educational prosperity? And you make a positive comment and all of a sudden, it is not acceptable,” Unanue told Fox News.

Social media was flooded by people who just don’t understand what the CEO of Goya was even thinking.

Julián Castro, a former candidate for president, was not shy to call out the CEO. President Trump has not been a friend to the Latino community when it comes to legislation and rhetoric.

People are offering recipes and alternatives to avoid having to use Goya products.

#GoyaAlternatives is filled with recipe after recipe and business after business to help you get over Goya. The boycott is getting a lot of attention on social media and people are getting excited to make their own adobo and sofrito.

Now, don’t go and just throw away your Goya products.

There are a lot of ways to make goo duse of the Goya you have at home. If you truly wish to never see the brand again, you can donate the food to food banks or anyone else who will take them. You can also simply choose to use the product until it is done and not buy anymore.

READ: A Latina Broke Down The Ingredients Of Sazón And Apparently It Can Trigger Anxiety And Brain Damage